NTR wins €84m back­ing from low-cost bank

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - PETER HAMIL­TON

An Ir­ish re­new­able en­ergy in­vest­ment com­pany has se­cured €84 mil­lion in back­ing from the low cost Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank (EIB) to sup­port its long-term plans.

NTR plc, which owns a raft of wind tur­bines mainly lo­cated in the North, has re­ceived back­ing for its NTR Re­new­able En­ergy In­come Fund II which will sup­port on­shore wind and so­lar pro­jects as well as en­ergy stor­age schemes.

Dublin-based NTR is op­er­at­ing a €1.2 bil­lion pan-Euro­pean fund, of which €500 mil­lion is eq­uity with the re­main­der in debt fi­nanc­ing.

The EIB’s back­ing is ex­pected to at­tract in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors and pen­sion funds to NTR’s fund which will in turn sup­port up to 20 dif­fer­ent re­new­able en­ergy pro­jects. The fund will pro­vide long-term eq­uity fi­nanc­ing of over 25 years to “ac­cel­er­ate devel­op­ment of small and medium sized re­new­able en­ergy pro­jects”.

“As world cli­mate lead­ers met in Poland to dis­cuss im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment, the new €84 mil­lion sup­port for re­new­able en­ergy pro­jects across Europe by NTR demon­strates the EU bank’s firm com­mit­ment to ac­cel­er­at­ing in­vest­ment cru­cial for tack­ling cli­mate change,” said EIBvi­cep res­i­dent An­drew McDow­ell.

ICAV

This fund­ing rep­re­sents the EIB’s first ever back­ing for in­vest­ment through an ICAV, or Ir­ish Col­lec­tive As­set-man­age­ment Ve­hi­cle.

An ICAV is a cor­po­rate ve­hi­cle de­signed for Ir­ish in­vest­ment funds autho­rised by the Cen­tral Bank of Ire­land. It is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for US in­vestors in in­vest­ment funds as it al­lows them to be sub­ject to US tax as if they held the un­der­ly­ing as­sets in the fund di­rectly.

“NTR’s new co-op­er­a­tion with the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank re­flects our shared goal of en­sur­ing long-term in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­ergy pro­jects es­sen­tial for achiev­ing Europe’s cli­mate com­mit­ments. We wel­come the €84 mil­lion back­ing from the EIB and look for­ward to work­ing to­gether in the years ahead,” said Dr Rosheen McGuck­ian, chief ex­ec­u­tive of NTR plc.

The EIB has been a sup­porter of Ir­ish re­new­able en­ergy pro­jects in the past. In May, the bank con­firmed fund­ing of €79.5 mil­lion for the Oweninny wind farm in Co Mayo. It has also sup­ported ESB’s elec­tric car charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture and Eirgrid’s east-west in­ter­con­nec­tor.

Cli­mate-re­lated in­vest­ment has be­come a for­mal pri­or­ity for the bank, which has in­vested over €130 bil­lion glob­ally in the sec­tor, thus sup­port­ing more than €600 bil­lion in cli­mate re­lated in­vest­ment.

Com­ment­ing on the an­nounce­ment, Richard Bru­ton, the Min­is­ter for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Cli­mate Ac­tion and the En­vi­ron­ment, said the Gov­ern­ment’s goal is to make Ire­land a leader in re­spond­ing to cli­mate change.

“Be­ing a leader means act­ing now, stretch­ing our­selves and seiz­ing the en­ter­prise op­por­tu­ni­ties in a low car­bon econ­omy,” he said.

Ir­ish mar­ket

Out­side re­new­ables, the EIB is a sig­nif­i­cant lender in the Ir­ish mar­ket.

Last year, it pro­vided more than €1 bil­lion worth of fi­nanc­ing to Ir­ish op­er­a­tions.

That in­cluded sup­port for the Na­tional Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal, a re­de­vel­op­ment of the Port of Cork, and a long-term loan to the Na­tional Univer­sity of Ire­land Gal­way.

The bank has also sup­ported large in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects in the past num­ber of years. In 2009 it agreed €260 mil­lion fi­nanc­ing for Dublin Air­port’s Ter­mi­nal Two project. In 2014, it agreed to give €150 mil­lion to Luas Cross City.

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